What is a Domain?

Your last name (or surname) tells others what family you belong to. You’re a Smith or a Jones or a Watson – whatever it may be. Your first name is what tells people what specific Smith/Jones/Watson you are. Leslie Smith, or Robert Jones or Elizabeth Watson.

Domain names work the same way.

How to read domain names

For example:


The “.edu” is just like a surname. It tells you that this domain name (aka the name of a website) is an educational website. So you can be sure any domain with “.edu” attached to the end is one with an educational affiliation.

The “.gov” ending works the same way. Any website with the “.gov” surname is affiliated with a government entity. Like www.irs.gov, www.whitehouse.gov, and of course the infamous www.healthcare.gov.

By far the most popular surname, “.com” is short for commercial – which you’ll find as the surname of the bulk of the websites you visit.

Now, to the specifics. The meat of the domain name, the part between “www” and the surname, tells you the specific site you’re going to.

For example, www.nytimes.com, tells you that you’re going to the New York Times commercial website.

What’s a subdomain?

A subdomain is a domain name that branches off the original domain name. For example, if your website was “www.table.com,”a subdomain could be “www.wooden.table.com.”

Domain name registration

If you want to make your own website, how do you do it? Finding a domain name is easy. There are tons of sites like www.godaddy.com where you can search for domain names.

All you have to do is type in the domain name you’re interested in – if it’s available you can register right then. If it’s not, other available domains that are similar will pop up. From start to finish, domain name registration only takes a couple minutes.

The Domain Name System

The Domain Name System (or DNS) is just a naming system that categorizes names assigned to entities. One of the main functions of the DNS is to assign IP addresses to domains. IP addresses are simply a number assigned to a device that’s using the Internet. That device could be a computer, laptop printer etc.

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